The LA Times Chris Gaither in: Overtaking MapQuest a Challenge for Yahoo, takes a look at what Yahoo is doing to gain market share from MapQuest in the online map arena.
Gaither writes, "But when it comes to challenging the market leader in maps, Yahoo hasn't had as much luck. MapQuest has widened its lead in recent months despite Yahoo's enhancements."
The article includes discussion of their dynamic Smart View technology that Chris wrote about last March. I can personally report that this is my "go to" service when needing map, direction, and local merchant info.
Most telling is a quote by a MapQuest user that focuses on the brand loyalty that people have towards this service.
"I've been using MapQuest forever, and I'm pretty familiar with it," he said. "It's quick and easy."
This illustrates something I've written about on several occassions, it's one thing to develop new, and in the case of Yahoo Maps, useful search services but it's something else to get people to try it and then use it on a regular basis. I've also experienced this type of loyalty in the web search arena when trying to get people to take a look at new or different services.
"It's probably true that Yahoo has added more features, but adding more features doesn't always mean more customer adoption," MapQuest General Manager Tommy McGloin said. "We've held the line despite some good competition."
Finally, the article discusses what Google might be up to with its purchase of Keyhole.
and speaking of aerial images and maps...
Have you tried TerraFly from Florida International University? It's free. Enter an address (U.S. only), find aerial images, click on a location and find out local info including nearby schools, census data, hotels, etc. Very cool!